Small steps, big gains

Mental Health Matters.

Living with someone with mental health issues is no easy feat. It is heartbreaking to watch someone you love sink into a hole without any cause, without any trigger and what they believe to be without hope. For the last two plus years I have been the support of one of my babies, watching the signs, gauging moods, lifting them up when they start to slip. It’s an emotional time for both of us, when they sit and sob for no apparent reason, cry that they need help, to acknowledge they aren’t well. But in that, most importantly, is the identification and awareness within themselves they need support.

I’m just glad I have the kind of relationship with my bubba that he can say to me “I need help Mum”. There are too many men still living up to outdated expectations of “pull yourself together”, as statistics show; 67% of all the 6000 UK suicides in 2017 were men under 50. I refuse to let my son be a failed statistic.

Finding help and knowing what and where to turn does not have to be difficult. First stop if it’s you- speak to your family or someone you trust, second I’d most definitely see your GP, third is work or college - who should have well-being services or occupational health of some description. In three days I have organised for my son all these including counselling through college. Acknowledgement of mental health issues is the first step in becoming well, reframing is the second. Listening and supporting is not pandering or being too soft. Genuine mental health issues needs a genuine, supportive and loving someone to guide them through.

When he tells me “I’m not well Mum”, I acknowledge this, reframe it to “Yes, I know you aren’t feeling well, but we have everything in place to get better. You are stepping out of not well, we don’t dwell there, we look forward to what we are achieving now.” He managed a full day in college yesterday without me travelling on a 70 mile round trip to collect him. I high fived and gave him a big hug, congratulating him on that. Small steps, one day at a time.

Please, don’t dismiss your child’s mood, take time to listen to them, ask them the question “how are you feeling today”, listen without too much interruption and hear what they are saying. It’s easy to sometimes overlook things as “typical teen”, take the time to get to know your child- which I know can be difficult when they close themselves off, support them, guide them and most importantly look after yourself too, they need you.

With love and light always


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